While everyone else was asking viewers to follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook, the NFL asked people to send a short text message and it worked.
The “Live Like a Millionaire” ad shows average guys living extravagant lifestyles. It leads to a tag that says you could win a million dollars by playing the new NFL Fantasy Football game. Along the way, a short text message request appears on the screen and eventually, the voice-over asks you text for more information on the game. (Click here to see the full commercial)
Without delving into the numbers, you can see that this is a good idea. People love money. People love to win things. The visuals play into a variety of male fantasies. The request is simple. Take that cell phone out of your pocket and text 3 letters to a short number.
Beats navigating to Facebook or typing out a long Tweet with a hashtag.
Did it work? Oh, yeah. According to the New York Times, the NFL was looking for a 1% return, or 1.1 million people. They got 1.7 million.
The second step after the text, was to sign up for the game, which doesn’t begin until the fall. A spokesperson told the Times, the follow through rate was “’exponentially higher’ than the 2 percent conversion rate for most Web sites.”
Running a promo eight months ahead of the launch might not have been the best timing, but where better to find fantasy football players than at the Super Bowl? Now, the NFL has 1.7 million phone numbers they can text when it’s time to launch. Not bad.
The concept is elegant in its simplicity and it makes me wonder why more people aren’t going this route. I think there was a time when people were reluctant to follow through on ad texting because it meant turning over your personal contact information. But now that Tweets and Facebook updates ping your phone every other minute, does it really matter if you keep your cell number private?
What do you think? Is texting too old school to catch on as a marketing option or has its time come again?